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It’s OK to cry, said the thief to the thug, and she squeezed his hand.

Their legs dangled off the bridge and a flask was passed between them.

It was a lost love, a boss’ daughter, forbidden fruit ripened over the years.

She did feel something for me, said the square headed man, pain etched into his face. At first, it was teasing. But then something changed. His eyes almost glowed with the memory. I don’t even know why. She wouldn’t tell me.

The thief told herself: she was collecting information. She took a swig of the terrible spirits: to put him at ease. She knocked the heels of her soft soled boots against the stone of the bridge: a practiced casualness.

She passed the flask back to him, and he took a pull. The summer before she left the boss was away a lot. Before you came.

The thief knew all that very well. The boss was away setting up cartel business that moved him from a minor to major player. Before that summer he hadn’t had need of her services, of which thievery was a subset: she just identified with it more than “information retrieval” even if that’s what she invoiced for.

Have you ever been in love? the thug said, looking at her.

She took the flask, to delay. Is it love when you know the person is hateful? Her weakness was for compromised & contradictory personalities that made her feel normal, safe. Everyone simpler was an idiot child.

Of course you have, that’s a stupid question. No one escapes.

For a long time she had. The thief was a dowdy woman, chubby faced, flat eyed. Not many temptations were placed in her path. But there was another thug, on another job. She felt small with him, but not invisible: precious. His thoughts were often charmingly disconnected, and she never knew if it was a natural whimsey or just getting punched a lot. He died in a sudden but predictable way.

Oh, said the thief, her defenses overwhelmed, memories lapping over the walls. Oh.

The thug squeezed her hand. It’s OK to cry, he said.

She looked down at the flicker of light on the water and water leaked out of her eyes.

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